May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 243

The Business of Baseball's Boys of Summer

Now that the Boys of Summer and the World Series are gone, what does Major League Baseball have to do?

Well, regulate how you read about baseball. Huh?

Yep. According to this U.S.A. Today article. "Bob Bowman, who oversees Major League Baseball Advanced Media, says it's time to assert property rights: 'One way to exhibit a live baseball game is TV. Then there's radio. The third is offering real-time data online. To us, there's no difference.'"

It's big business. Baseball makes much of its money from broadcasting rights. But the consequences, oh, the consequences. The U.S.A. Today reporter Michael Heistand observes "...the ripple effect on leagues' almighty TV revenue could be devastating. Theoretically, major leaguers might be forced to get offseason jobs."

Apparently, lots of websites offer the ability to "watch" baseball online, such as ESPN's Gamecast feature. In other words, you can look like you're "working" while you "watch" online.

But regulate reading?

It's been tried before. In the NBA v. Motorola case, Big Basketball tried to stop Motorola from providing game stats to pager customers. We all know how that turned out, since you can still get scores on your handheld, phone and pager.

As it is, MLB comes close to occupying the field now. MLB offers a Broadband Service titled "It's Probably Too Much Baseball." No lie. You can get a lot of baseball online, so that when the off-season comes, the suffering will diminish.

As for me, I'm glad to watch football again, without worrying whether I'll watch it in person, on TV or online. Go Hawkeyes!

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, October 26, 2003 at 09:12 Comments (0) |

How To Give Back

I ride a Harley, something like this one. Not all the time, but typically on weekends.

One weekend in November, in particular.

On November 9th, the Love Ride will feature some 15, 000 bikers on a 50-mile fund-raising ride from Glendale to Lake Castaic. It's sponsored by Glendale Harley-Davidson, and is in its 20th year.

The Love Ride donates to Reading by 9 (a L.A. Times sponsored literacy initiative which benefits local schools), and 20 other charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, City of Hope, Providence Saint Joseph Foundation, Sheriff's Relief Foundation, Ahead with Horses, National Kidney Foundation, Scleroderma Research Foundation, American Diabetes Association, and Glendale College Foundation.

Last year, over $1,000,000 was raised, with hopes to top it this year. So, if you're so inclined, please become a Love Ride Sponsor

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, October 25, 2003 at 15:23 Comments (0) |

Knees Squeezed? Try This!

I'm not vertically challenged. I enjoyed flying American when it had extra leg room, and was disappointed after AA reversed itself. If available, I ask for an exit row, aisle seat. I suspect some readers may know what I'm talking about.

The dreaded seat recliner.

You know, the person in front of you who insists on reclining as soon as the plane lifts off, and then plants the back of the seat firmly into your knees. Not to mention what happens to your laptop.

Now, there's hope - and controversy. Thanks to the Knee Defender, a small Tic-tac sized block of plastic. Slide it down on the metal bar of your seat tray up against the seat back in front of you, and viola!, no more bruised knees. The inventor claims it prevents deep vein thrombosis, also known as economy class syndrome.

Not everyone is happy, though. Northwest Airlines has banned the less than $10.00 device. Other airlines are studying it.

In the meantime, I'm buying it.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, October 25, 2003 at 09:28 Comments (0) |

The Contrast Between Workers and Politicians

It snowed in Vienna last night near the Schoenbrunn castle. We've got temps in the high 90's here in Southern California, and wildfires at Camp Pendelton. It's a stark contrast.

Just like it is in Congress, I'm afraid. Today, we learn once again that Congress has agreed to give itself a pay hike.

On the other hand, here in Southern California, grocery union workers are still on strike vying for health benefits. Los Angeles MTA workers want better health benefits, too.

Maybe the workers just need to run for Congress.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, October 24, 2003 at 08:45 Comments (1) |

Irish Castles Will Not Go Up In Smoke

I'm not Irish, so I may not be qualified to write this post. I did visit once, so I can claim some minor understanding of the Country. On my trip, I learned that nearly 44 million Irish men, women and children emigrated to the U.S. Unlike a certain European city, Americans are welcomed in Ireland.

Right now, though, Ireland is struggling with the application of its new Smoke Law, scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2004. This time, the flap seems to be over the application of the smoking ban to homes.

When caregivers, plumbers and electricians come into an Irish home, they're entitled to a smoke-free environment, according to an Irish Government Agency's interpretation. I wrote about this ban once before when Irish cigar vendors were complaining.

The law's proponents point to a study out of Helena, Montana. There, when the smoking ban was in place, heart attacks went down by 48%.

When the law was rescinded, the number of heart attacks went right back up. Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

New Yorkers have been trying to stymie their smoking ban, too. But a federal judge will have nothing of it. On the left coast, we've gotten pretty used to the no smoking law, and in fact, I miss it when traveling.

I'm a dedicated cigar smoker, though, but I respect others' rights not to breathe it in. While writing this post, I was glad to have found 78 more reasons to buy cigars.

We got used to the ban, and it looks like New York and Ireland will too.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, October 23, 2003 at 10:24 Comments (0) |

Only in Iowa

I don't get the chance to write about Iowa very much. It's not because I don't want to, it's just that there's not a lot going on there. I really like the state, and it's a great place to live (and go to school). In the summer, anyway.

Winters really suck. In Iowa, snow comes down sideways, with the wind. Where I was born in New England, that's where they take those winter wonderland postcard photos. The snow there falls ever so gently and piles up white. Oh, the memories. Enough of that, though. Back to Iowa. That's what started this whole article.

In Iowa, 14-year old Bryce Wiley is wheelchair bound in a little town 150 miles northwest of Des Moines.1 Unfortunately for Bryce, none of the sidewalks have cut-outs at the curbs, according to this article.

So, he drives his motorized wheelchair on the road. It doesn't go over well with the police, and the State of Iowa bans wheelchairs from the road.

Obviously, a conundrum.

Never fear, though. The police and Bryce worked out a deal, brokered by the Mayor and Bryce's dad. As long as he obeys the traffic laws and put a safety light on his wheelchair, all is fine in Mudville once again.

1 Everyone uses Des Moines (mockingly pronounced dez moyne ez by locals) as the measuring stick. I don’t know why, because no one other than Iowans really know where Des Moines is. But, it’s the capital, so they figure that those of us who memorized the 50 capitals as kids at least have heard about it.back

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 at 08:40 Comments (0) |

ChevronTexaco Consent Decree Posted

Last week, I wrote about the ChevronTexaco consent decree. Now, the actual paperwork is here to view in Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.

It runs in toto over 200 pages. Not too bad for spending over $275 million to resolve this air-quality lawsuit.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 at 07:37 Comments (0) |

Box Cutters Can't Cut Through Red Tape

Recently, the United States Inspector General's investigators carried knives, a bomb and a gun through Boston Logan International Airport's boarding procedures without being detected.

In comparison, 20-year old Nathaniel Heatwole placed box cutters, molded clay and bleach on two Southwest Airlines flights that went undetected for a month. Even despite the fact that Heatwole sent an email detailing the who, what, where and how of his "civil disobedience" action.

Guess who's facing charges, though? Heatwole, and 10 years in jail, to be sure.

Heatwole seems like a regular guy. Earlier this year, he won a $1,000 ham radio scholarship. According to other articles, he also won a similar scholarship from his college radio station for writing.

Heatwole said, "I have a ton of stuff I'd like to say, but ... I have to work with government before I work with the media," in an interview from his home in Damascus, Md. to a newspaper, according to CBS.

The September 11 hijackers used box cutters to take over the planes that day.

No doubt what Heatwole did was wrong - but he did nothing to hurt anyone, only prove a point. It seems to me that we ought to thank him for pointing out these problems instead of punishing him.

But that's just one guy's opinion.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 at 12:39 Comments (0) |

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